Still needs a better description, as it's no longer specifically about the hero and villain, but rather about the action.
Also, please vote on the image: there are three choices in the comments below.
I'll try to pick relevant examples off Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
when I launch this.
There are many ways for the villain to die. But what do you do when your hero isn't much of a killer? How do you let them defeat their enemy but still try to show that they're "good" and not actively trying to end a life? Easy - do it defensively. The enemy charges at the hero, who quickly raises a spear or sword and braces themselves. The enemy runs onto the pointy end
, and there may be a moment where the hero and their enemy stare at each other before they reveal that the foe has just killed themselves
This trope does not apply to every impalement. It only applies if the enemy is impaled by his own momentum without the defender needing to move.
Sub-trope of Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
and Self-Disposing Villain
. Also a subtrope of Deadly Dodging
, for when the dodging results in the enemy impaling himself on something.
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
Anime and Manga
- One scene in Hokuto No Ken shows the villain's fortifications, including sharpened trees thicker than a man's arm. Later on the downtrodden villagers storm the villain's base, and one guy is shown to have somehow impaled himself at least three feet on one of the stakes.
Film - Animated
- Black Moon Chronicles: By waiting until the last possible moment to lift up their pikes, a group of pikemen under Murata are able to completely destroy a line of charging knights.
- This is how Redlance from ElfQuest got his tribe name in his backstory. He later repeated it with an attacking troll just before the Castle War.
Film - Live Action
- In Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole, happens at the climax of the final battle: Soren gets knocked onto the ground, his flaming stick nearby. As Metalbeak flies at him, battle claws extended, Soren grabs the stick and points it at Metalbeak, who flies onto it.
- In the movie Brother Bear, Kenai is fighting a bear and gets knocked on the ground. When it charges at him, he grabs his spear. Rather than showing what happens, it shows the mountain from a distance and the viewer hears the bear roar one last time, and then it shows that Kenai has survived.
- In the film of The Hobbit, a Warg runs at Bilbo and he kills it by holding out his sword, Sting.
- Averted in The Two Towers: The Rohirrim cavalry charges down a steep incline where orc pikemen are massing. However, the sun rises just in time for them to be dazzled, and the charge completely breaks the line apart.
- At the climax of Star Trek: Nemesis, Picard inflicts this on Shinzon with a piece of broken-off metal.
- Invoked in Braveheart when the Scots counter an English cavalry charge by getting them to crash into a wall of crude pikes.
- Fright Night (1985). A vampirized Evil Ed (in wolf form) is attacking Peter Vincent. A wooden bannister railing is broken and Peter grabs a piece of it. When Evil Ed charges he is impaled on the wooden pole, returns to human form and apparently dies.
Live Action TV
- At the climax of the Warrior Cats book Sunset, Brambleclaw is fighting his evil half-brother, Hawkfrost. He'd just saved his leader from a fox trap by digging up the stake holding it in the ground, so he picks up the stake in his mouth and swings it around. Hawkfrost lunges at him and impales himself on the spike. Brambleclaw is shocked and gasps "Hawkfrost! I... I didn't want this."
- In Blood Brothers of Gor a Fantasy Counterpart Culture Plains Indians war between two tribes uses this. The "good" tribe sets up a series of battlements, each taller than the last but none of them too terribly impregnable. The "bad" tribe jumps over them on their horses, only to fall into a pit of sharpened sticks where they're impaled.
- In another Gor book, Tarl kills a Larl (basically a lion or tiger the size of a small elephant) by getting it to charge at him while he's holding a spear with the butt firmly stuck in the ground.
- This is how Sam is able to seriously wound Shelob in The Lord of the Rings. The book explicitly states that he hadn't the strength to pierce her hide, but her forcibly falling on him did.
- One episode of The Twilight Zone is "The Once And Future King," wherein Gary Pitkin, an Elvis impersonator, gets transported to 1953, where he meets the real Elvis Presley. At first, Elvis thinks Gary is his stillborn brother Jesse, Back from the Dead. However, when Gary begins coaching Elvis about his music, Elvis is reviled. The two men begin to fight, breaking a guitar at the neck. Then Elvis lunges at Gary; Gary rolls aside, and Elvis impales himself fatally on the jagged guitar neck.
- Early editions of Dungeons & Dragons: If a PC set a long weapon (such as a spear) in preparation for an opponent's charge and succeeded in hitting the charging opponent, they would do double normal weapon damage, possibly killing the opponent.
- Warcraft III: Orc buildings can be outfitted with spikes that damage melee attackers, implied to be this trope. Some units (Crypt Lords, turtles) have an ability that does the same (and in the Crypt Lord's case, gives it extra armor).
- In the animation of Brian Jacques' book Martin the Warrior, Martin's sword falls from Badrang's paws and into the prison pit. Martin dives for it and holds it up, and when Badrang leaps into the pit after him, he gets impaled on it.
- Parodied & Downplayed example: On The Simpsons when Bart & Lisa get into a fight. Bart is leaving Lisa's room.
Bart: OK, but on my way, I'm going to be doing this: (windmills arms) If you get hit, it's your own fault.
Lisa: OK, then I'm going to start kicking air like this. (kicks) And if any part of you should fill that air, it's your own fault.
(they walk towards each other, then start fighting)
Marge: (in the kitchen) Oh, I better go check that out. Now Homer, don't you eat this pie!
Homer: OK...(Marge leaves) All right, pie, I'm just going to do this. (chomps air) And if you get eaten, it's your own fault! (walks towards pie, chomping air, and hits head on range hood) Ow! Oh, my -- aw, to hell with this. (grabs pie, eats it)
- Truth in Television. Spear walls/phalanx formations existed because of this.
- This is how boar spears work, as the tactic for boar hunting involves getting a rampaging boar to charge in the direction of the hunter and impale itself on the spear.